Continuing on our series of potential trade candidates that the Nats may have available today we feature our "SS of the future", Ian Desmond.
Desmond is one of the most interesting players in the entire Nats organization. Drafted way back in 2004, he has been touted by each General Manager as the "Shortstop of the Future" - hell even Jim Bowden called him the "next Derek Jeter". His path to the majors has been as circuitous as a Nook Logan route to a fly ball - with demotions from AA and extended stays in High-A ball - 6 MiLB years in total.
After all that, Desmond is only 25 years-old and in his second full year in the big leagues, which most people forget. He came on strong with a September call-up back in 2009 and hit a solid .280 with some speed and pop, with some flashy yet error-prone defense. Desmond earned the starting SS spot for the following year although the team already employed veteran SS cog Cristian Guzman. His rookie year was pretty standard, hit with a decent SS average and knocked in 65 runs, while racking up a whopping 34 errors (-8.8 UZR).
Going into this year the Nats brass decided that hey wanted Desmond to focus a bit more on defense and try to reduce the amount of errors. So far, Desmond has fared much better, racking up a 1.9 UZR and committing just 13 errors so far - showing far more maturity than he has in the past.
However, much to the teams chagrin, Desmond's offense has regressed substantially from 2010.
-His batting average is down .043 points.
-His wOBA is down .043 points as well.
-His OPS is down .120 points.
-His K-Rate is up 4%.
By now, Scouts and Brass are secretly saying that Desmond's future lies as that of a Super-Utility player, capable of playing both Infield and Outfield (he did register some time in RF last year). Truth be told, I think Desmond is turning into a solid defensive SS and could be an above average 2B.
All of these things have prompted many in NatsTown to call for a trade of Desmond - to be followed by an Espinosa move to SS and the immediate promotion of 2B prospect Stephen Lombardozzi, who is hitting .376 in split time at AA/AAA.
Contenders: Red Sox, Indians, Brewers, Diamondbacks Giants (despite their trade for Keppinger)
Return: Multiple Prospects - at least one upper level prospect.
Desmond's numbers don't show it but he is an extremely valuable piece for a contender. Not only is his defense improving drastically, but this is only his second full year as a big-leaguer and he is under team control through 2015. A cheap piece that could benefit the club for years to come. So, the question is on your CapBallers. Would you trade away Ian Desmond? What do you want in return?